by Patrick Bromley
F This Movie Fest 6 is taking place on February 11, which means all next week we're celebrating the movies of 1987. Spend this weekend putting yourself back in an '87 state of mind with some of these selections.
Brian De Palma) Outside of maybe Mission: Impossible, this gangster classic (a David Mamet-penned adaptation of the 1957 book and subsequent TV series) is probably Brian De Palma's most commercial movie. It's a film that's accessible to mainstream audiences while still retaining so much of the style and movie-ness that makes De Palma great and one of those rare blockbusters where everyone is working at the top of his or her game, from the incredible cast to De Palma to Mamet to Steven Burum as DP to Ennio Morricone's score. It's a first-rate entertainment that never panders or insults your intelligence. It's also a hugely important entry in De Palma's filmography, as its success is what allowed him to make his longtime passion project Casualties of War. (Watch on Hulu)
Peter Jackson) I said in the original post for F This Movie Fest that '87 is maybe one of the last great years for a certain kind of genre movie that was popular in the '80s. Here's a movie that's both the proof and the exception to that rule. On the one hand, this gory, absurd New Zealand comedy is right at home in the imaginative practical effects horror of the decade, but to suggest that it's the beginning of the end is inaccurate as this is the first feature from writer/director Peter Jackson, who would go on to make a bunch of cool movies and revolutionize the industry for both better and worse. I wrote about where Bad Taste fits into his career after revisiting the movie a year ago; give it a read after you watch this one. (Watch on Amazon Prime Video)
Rambo: First Blood Part II and his 1993 comeback in Cliffhanger and Demolition Man, but that's forgetting that one of his best movies -- Tango & Cash -- was released in 1989 (#KurtRussellRule). But I think I perceive the slump thanks to movies like this one from 1987, in which Stallone plays a truck driver named Hawk who's trying to reconnect with his son and win a bunch of arm wrestling tournaments. My love for Cannon Films is well-documented on this site, and Over the Top finds them making a grab at legitimacy with a big star vehicle that's as much family drama as it is exploitation. I don't think it works and the movie is a ways down on my list of favorite Stallone films, but it's a fascinating look at where both the star and the company were in 1987. Between this and Masters of the Universe, '87 marked the last big attempt by Cannon to play with the majors. It was all downhill after this. (Watch on Crackle)
Road House) is a nifty little thriller featuring James Spader in a dual role investigating a series of murders that appear to be copying from Jack the Ripper's playbook. There is style to spare and there are genuine surprise to be found which I dare not reveal, but this is probably my favorite of all Herrington's work. The presence of Cynthia Gibb has never hurt a movie. (Watch on Shudder)